Owning or sharing an XOD
If you enjoy racing it's obviously more fun to sail with your own team, learning to work together as a team, gaining expertise in the area you enjoy, whether it be at the bow, in the middle, on the helm, as the tactician or all the areas. Or you can be a floating crew (boat tart) going from boat to boat if and when there is an available slot.
XODs are usually sailed by a crew of three and all the partners contibute towards the upkeep of the boat. Most don’t want to sail every race, after all Itchenor runs 140 plus races per year. They may sail Saturday’s only, afternoons only or spend a month in the summer cruising on a yacht. Thus there is an opportunitiy for 4 or 5 partners to share a boat.
The annual running cost per boat is in general £6k pa but this could be reduced to say £4,500 if you do some of your own maintenance or rise to say £8k if you feel you need to replace sails regularly or have the boat it tip top racing condition. It sounds a lot but split it 3 or 4 or 5 ways and it becomes very affordable and some skippers are often willing to sell their barely used sails at a reduced price.
Or come at it from another direction; say you decide you can afford £70 pcm, gym membership money, and the annual running cost is £6k that means you would need 7 in the syndicate and each would be able to race in the boat over 60 times each season. For many that would be plenty- at £14 a race.
Before I bought Merlin, last summer, I had only crewed. At first it seemed a huge undertaking and with no partners was seriously concerned of what I was taking on financially - especially as I have no helming experience.
Thanks to Haines boatyard, they managed to get Merlin set up enough to get her on the water really quickly, after a few lessons with our RYA instructor who sails Xs himself, I started to find crews and more importantly, helms to sail her with me.
There are many sailors who are willing to give their time to beginner helms and so by the end of the season I have 2 great partners, one a very experienced helm and offers from skippers to helm her as and when.
There is work to do on her, She has a couple of broken ribs and a slightly loose pintle that needs repairing at some point in the future, her top deck needs a sanding but having a closer look -no worse than any other boat at the end of the season. So having started out really concerned I look upon the coming season as a great opportunity to be more involved and to enjoy sailing on my own boat.
So go for it - you might be a cruiser, or a dinghy sailor- we now have many cruiser sailors who gave up their cruising and now enjoy the X boat. They are a challenge, its not dinghy sailing and the harbour isn't a mill pond. It's an exciting Solent boat, great fun and a joy to sail. Sailing with the family, a picnic on the beach, or even racing with younger family members, up to a certain age/weight we allow four in a boat.
Partnerships need only be for a year so If you want to chat about that or owning an X then please do get in touch with me and we can discuss it further. firstname.lastname@example.org
Buying an X boat, can be very inexpensive, especially if you go in with a partner.
Not all boats are advertised and one can buy an XOD for as little as £2-4K - get in touch with the Class Captain. email@example.com who can point you in the right direction.
I cant wait for the season to start
see you on the water, in Merlin